Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Some recent correspondence with our Council

From: Dave Colwell  

Subject: Re. Your recent calls for input

Squamish Council:

We have recently been inundated with requests for input regarding the running of this town.

We have had numerous requests to fill out surveys  regarding the above. I have dutifully filled them out.

There have been numerous Public Forums.

But you do not let up. You must be mindful of the numerous modes of input that you have had access too.


  1.  Squamish Chief Letters
  2.  Squamish Reporter Posts
  3.  Numerous Survey Data
  4.  Personal letters to you by citizens like me.
  5.  An awareness of all that our wonderful service clubs are doing for this community
  6.  The obvious Environment needs of our area in the light of Global problems.
  7.  The financial needs, in balance with all of the above

With respect, I think there is a need on your part to think about and discuss all this in a rational thoughtful manner, without prejudice, and to think about the economy of your strategies.

Again, Respectfully, Dave Colwell


On Mar 7, 2018, at 8:07 AM, Dave Colwell   wrote:

I already made a comment but  I wish to say this in addition to my previous words which may have been interpreted as negative and  possibly not supportive:

I am fully in favour of anything and everything which will enhance efficient Government, Business, Ecological stability, Social interaction, and most important, COMMUNICATION. Most of the Sponsors listed would seem to be able to help improve these things. No Council should need seemingly endless permissions to work towards any of these goals.
Let us not stick at the "survey post" ....... rather get on with the job.

And I do applaud your motivation to be as fair and inclusive as possible.....It is just that we elected you to be able to make informed decisions as efficiently as possible with confidence.


Thanks Dave. Appreciate the feedback. It is a fine line between too much and not enough engagement. We usually get criticism for not doing enough.

Patty (Mayor of Squamish District)


And a further reply from a Council Employee:

Thanks for the feedback, and I do recognize that there is a level of engagement fatigue with regards to all of the programs and projects currently flowing through the District. If I may, I would like to share a few points with you from our perspective, for your consideration.

Modern principles of public engagement reflect the premise that better decisions are made when citizens who are affected by those decisions have input into the decision-making process. There has been a demand for greater transparency across all levels of government (and many private organizations and businesses too) in the last decade, and inviting citizens into the decision-making process is a way to increase that transparency and gather important feedback from those who will ultimately be affected. It is not a substitute for leadership, and is not about asking for permission, but rather a recognition that “collective wisdom” from a group of impacted stakeholders serves to make a better decision.

We do recognize that there can be engagement fatigue and burn-out among citizens, and this is also a comment on how busy our municipality currently is with the growth that we are experiencing. Some of our processes are legislated, i.e. around development applications and public hearings, and certainly there is an unprecedented volume of applications from the development community as demand for housing in Squamish has sky-rocketed in the last few years, due to market factors.

We are also just coming off a two-year massive project as we update the Official Community Plan, which has required extensive input from the community to ensure the plan reflects the wishes of the community as to how we all envision Squamish in the next 25 years.

(Just one note about the Smart Cities project that you commented on, this is a contest that is hosted by Infrastructure Canada, and a key element of the contest requires municipalities to demonstrate how their community has been involved in crafting a challenge-statement).

Again, thank you for your feedback and it serves as a good reminder to us that we need to consider community engagement fatigue as we approach new projects and opportunities.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

On the age of different things in our Universe....Part of a recent conversation with a friend:

There was a discussion about whether everything we see is of different ages or all the same age. Like: Is a rock on Earth older or younger than a distant star? So I wrote this:

.........." Once the stuff of the Universe was made "condensed" just after the big bang it was mutated into everything that exists today in a multitude of constantly changing forms: Ordinary matter, dark matter and all the rest of energy.. The age of all is the same. A house may be made of bricks....the bricks have an age so the house or any portion of the house is also the same age. You may grind up the bricks and remold them but the material is still the same age. We assume that all the material came from the same source and so everything made of it is the same age. We need to think at the quantum level here. Quantum is the Latin word for amount and, in modern understanding, means the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property, such as energy or matter. Quantum came into the latter usage in 1900, when the physicist Max Planck used it in a presentation to the German Physical Society. Rearrangements may have different ages but the stuff that is arranged is all the same age. My body is a temporary "hologram of particles", all of the same age but which pass in, out and through the arrangement of my body at any point in time. Hence the phrase: "We are are all made of Stardust"....but so much more! We are made of quantum particles."

So now try this link:

My friend replied: "How old are you Dave?"

I replied: "Around 13.7 Billion years, at any point in my life-time!  But soon I will be dispersed!.....i.e. the stuff I will be made of at the time of my 'death' will be. But it will be the same age approximately and continue to be."

My Friend: "Dave, you said, "We need to think at the quantum level here" WHY? It seems this leads only to pedantry. Taken to its logical conclusion, this reasoning dictates that all questions of the age of physical entities must be answered "+/_13.7 billion years."
I replied: "Yes all matter and energy...not entities....Entities can be temporary formations of matter and energy but matter or energy is all of the same age. You and I are entities made of different matter and energy at different points in time. Like we are a river or lake but with different water all the time. First law of thermodynamics – Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. (Hawking will have some extras here related to the time between the Big Bang and the initial expansion (which was a very, very short time...seconds) but The Law is still generally accepted as true)."